Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Bemelmans Bar


Photo courtesy of Mark Salinas, 2007

Lit Nerd Wednesday!

I have a bit of a dilemma – I love vintage hotel bars but my archivist salary says NO! Of course I still like to indulge from time to time, you just have to pick your battles wisely — such is the case with Bemelmans Bar. Named after the writer Ludwig Bemelman, of Madeline fame, this dimly lit watering hole is gloriously cloaked in his murals that he painted in the 1940s for the exchange of two years of free lodging. He was one of the rare breed of artist who had talent for both prose and painting and after unsuccessfully trying to make a living in the latter, combined both for his books.

Located in the Carlyle Hotel on 35 East 76th Street, Bemelmans Bar is definitely one of the pricier ones in the city but definitely worth the treat for the artwork alone — add in the live jazz and you have a pretty solid Old New York time machine. Ludwig Bemelmans deal with the Carlyle resulted in one of the most unique renditions of Central Park on display, let alone the only one of his on public view. The other is on the Christine O, the yacht of Aristotle Onassis — good luck getting on that.


Photo courtesy of Mindy Tom

What: Bemelmans Bar

Who: Ludwig Bemelmans

Where: The Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street

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